What does sourdough hydration mean and how does it affect bread? The hydration level of bread is measured in percentage. It is a calculation of how much water the dough contains, in relation to how much flour it has.
How Lower Hydration Levels Affect DoughThe lower the hydration, the stiffer the dough. And for you as a baker it will mean the following:– You have to work harder to incorporate all the ingredients.– It will take longer for the gluten to develop (hence may require more kneading).
Here are some of the ways your bread can be affected if you were to increase the hydration level in your recipe:– Texture – The higher the hydration level of your bread, the softer the texture will be.– Crust – Sourdough bread crust tends to be quite thick and hard.